Well, ok the sport bike doesn’t do the AR portion of the TAT but the dual sports do. I seem to have a ritual when planning multiday rides, as well as some day rides. First, start planning the ride. Second, get the ride planned and find out who all is going. Third, this normally happens on a day or two before the ride, log onto youtube and watch a bunch of motorcycle wrecks, kind of freak out. Fourth, wake up the day of the ride still kind of freaked out and debate on going or not. Fifth, go on the ride. Why? I don’t know, I was talking with my mom about it and telling her “Yeah, spent about an hour watching various motorcycle wreck videos” to which she replied “What the hell.” Really I’m not sure how it comes about, or why I do it. It started with Gary who is on this ride, sending me a ton of links to various wreck reports and wreck videos just 2 days before a different ride one time. Since then from time to time I tend to repeat the process. Basically, for me it’s keeping things in focus, you have to recognize that with riding there is good and bad, and reading of others hardships/seeing them helps keep that into perspective sometimes. Obviously I went on the ride, and I came back in good health, so all is well. There were a few times where mentally I knew I needed to slow down, and did so. Anyhow, on with my part of the ride report. The bikes: CBR600RR, KTM990 Adventure, KLR650, DR650. The plan: The dual sports were doing asphalt out to the first camp spot and running the AR portion of TAT(Trans American Trail) Sat. and Sun. The CBR was going to shadow them on asphalt riding some of the wonderful roads that AR has to offer. The players: Gary(gkasper aka Slavedriver/KTM990), Jason(Silver aka guy on the sport bike/CBR600), Mike(Skyydiver aka BeerCan/KLR650), and Scott(not on the forum aka Pen’s/DR650). Day 1, Friday Our meet up spot was at Gary’s house supposedly at 10am. Scott and Mike were coming from OKC and due to issues and packing complications they didn’t arrive till roughly 12PM. Things happen, today was only asphalt for all of us so no biggy. Scott and Mike at Mike’s house getting ready to leave. Note: You’ll see through the trip pictures that Mikes stack of dry bags gets amazingly taller. Mike and Scott in OKC fixing to leave. Us at Gary’s house, you’ll note the variance of luggage, from happy trails to coretech to bungee to milk crates. Leaving Gary’s our first stop was a whopping ten miles away for gas/food. Meanwhile we were eating and Mike spots a guy with a license plate hanging from his belt. From there our speculation led to the fact that this was obviously the new sex offender warning policy and that he was a pedophile, Gary then informed us about a car auction about a half mile away but we dismissed that as conjecture and continued on about how the license plate from the belt was still a pedo sign and that we should call the cops. This was all in jest of course and the story led on to the cops catching the guy and then him about to be beat up in prison and the guy is all “I WAS JUST TRYING TO SELL A CAR” all because of a license tag hanging from his belt. We kind of have active imaginations. Breakfast/lunch Next stop, the toll booth for a quick break. The pack was running Gary/Scott/Mike/Me and I only got one good 120+ mph buzz in before Gary led us down the road filled with police aka 412 in AR. I’m just kidding about 120+ mph I have a governer on my 600 that won’t let it go over 65mph. Next stop for some gas and drinks was in AR somewhere, I dunno. They had a bunch of cherry machines inside and a put your quarter in so it tries to push other quarters off the edge and you get them machine, I dropped in 3 quarters and won 1 quarter and then put that in and came away with 0 quarters. Well damn. Guess that’s gambling. The bathroom was outside and no lock as well, I was pretty much expecting to get mugged/raped while I was in there, the following picture is me saying “HEY, DIDN’T GET RAPED, WHOOO” Gas stop We ride for a bit more with our next stop Yellville. Gary ends up missing the turn and I am in the lead and at this point I go ahead and take off leaving the rest behind and riding a bit faster than the dual sports. I ride ahead to Yellville and stop at a gas station to wait while they catch up, 3 smokes, fill up, a sammich, a nap, and a coke, they finally get to the gas station(kidding, it was only about 10 minutes). We all fill up and next stop is the Blanchard springs caverns camp site. As I have been here before and have ridden highway 14 I knew that it was nice and twisty and let them go ahead a bit as I would just catch up, and eventually pass them on 14, this was my element, nice and twisty and not too much traffic. I catch up and pass, run ahead a bit, stop and take pictures of them going by, catch up, pass, get to the end of 14, turn around and go back, see them a bit back, turn around and catch up. We get to the turn off and I pass again which Scott got pictures of… That camper in front of Gary I passed roughly 3 times keeping with the group. We get to Fifty-Six, AR and it starts to rain, at this point we are packed back up again and I am in the rear. Once we get to Blanchard springs cavern site we cruise to the picnic part(no camping) and stop to find our bearings, on the way in I’m scoping for dry spots the dual sports stop in the middle of the parking lot I pass them thinking “whatever I’m going to someplace dry” and park underneath a picnic spot. The rain slows/stops and we roll to our camp spot. Oh, did I mention through a water crossing? It had just gotten done raining so it was about a half a foot deep on concrete. The CBR made it through fine, I did learn to just leave your damn feet on the pegs though, sticking them out front just gets them all splashed. Setting up camp in the wet. Not too much fun but doable, and done. Finished, time to go get beer and food. I was under the impression that we did need food, so Gary and myself head to the booze store for beer, and then further to find out the quick e mart had closed. Back to the beer store to buy 20 dollars worth of chips, beef jerky, crackers, and candy bars. We get back to camp and I find that between all of us, we have 3 MRE’s, 2 Mountain House dinners, and some zatarans. WHY DID I BUY 20 BUX WORTH OF CRAP THEN?? The world will never know. Our dinner… After eating and drinking commenced, and more drinking, well Mike decided to show us a magic trick. With a beer can. What happened next cannot be put to text, you could only hear it in person to do it any justice. Just leave it to say that Gary threw up, I cried, and Scott laughed(I guess he’s used to it). Hence the name beercan for Mike. Pens for Scott would be because he told us since he had never met any of us before he thought it would be hilarious just to act totally off. Said he was thinking about buying something like 200 pens, not talking, and just sitting around at any stop pulling them out of the box of pens and clicking them then putting it back and getting another one and doing the same. It was pretty funny, even if it didn’t actually happen. Also I have no idea how I have ever made do without a headlamp. Holy crap these things are just the cats meow.